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MODERATOR:  Greetings from the U.S. Department of State’s Asia Pacific Media Hub.  I would like to welcome journalists to today’s on-the-record briefing with David M. Turk, the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy.  Deputy Secretary Turk will provide an overview of his ongoing visit to Bali, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines, for the third ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting and the United States Exchange and East Asia Summit Energy Ministerial Meetings. 

With that, let’s get started.  Deputy Secretary Turk, I’ll turn it over to you for your opening remarks.   

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Well, thanks very much, Natalie, and it’s a pleasure to be with you all.  Thanks to all our reporter colleagues who are joining this call.  Just a few thoughts of framing and then happy to take any and all questions as well. 

As Natalie mentioned, I’m here in Bali for a meeting we just concluded with our ASEAN minister colleagues, between ASEAN and the U.S., and sitting down here in a few minutes with a number of the ministers for bilateral discussions as well, and of course meeting with our Indonesian host, Minister Tasrif, earlier today also.  And then this comes on the – just after a visit to the Philippines earlier this week as well, and really exploring additional bilateral opportunities of cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines also. 

In addition, I had a chance not too long ago to visit Thailand and Vietnam and Indonesia again as well, and the reason we are spending – I am spending, we are spending so much time and effort on the region is because as we really step up and implement historic legislation in the U.S. on our clean energy transition – the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, truly groundbreaking efforts in the U.S. to walk the talk and get our own house in order – we also view a core, core part of our overall efforts to engage in partnership with key organizations like ASEAN, and I think ASEAN is an incredibly impactful organization that we are eager to support and to do what we can to help those countries and the ASEAN region more generally achieve its objectives; but also to make sure that if there are things we can be doing internationally, bilaterally, multilaterally, that we do that.  And we have a number of ongoing areas of collaboration with particular countries in the region but also with ASEAN as a group as well.  I’m happy to get into any particulars as there’s interest.  

As the U.S. Government, we of course are working on JETP with Indonesia, with Vietnam.  We have our own flagship partnership at the Department of Energy called Net Zero World, where we try to bring terrific, independent, gold-standard technical expertise from our national laboratories – 10 of our national laboratories – to help Indonesia, to help Thailand, to help Singapore, and to help other countries as there’s interest as well, a variety of technical conversations working in particular technology areas; but also trying to help inform policymaking and decision-making as we make progress in the U.S., learn from others, and share examples from our end as well.  And we’re having incredibly fruitful and real-world conversations on that front, and we really try to strive to be a true partner for countries around the world and certainly in ASEAN, of course with our private sector partners as well helping to lead the way. 

We’re also having a range of conversations on clean energy supply chains and really trying to work with countries so that they benefit not only from the mining of their particular minerals and resources, but try to move up the value chain so that they get more economic benefit from those resources that they’ve been given.  We view that as a win for those countries and those people, assuming the mining and the manufacturing is done responsibly, but also a win for diversification of supply chains and making sure that we all can benefit from these technologies going forward.   

So happy to get into any and all of that, and to certainly answer questions.  Back over to you, Natalie, to moderate.   

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Deputy Secretary Turk.  We will now turn to the question-and-answer portion of today’s briefing.  So our first question is from Diep Nguyen Thi Ngoc from BizLIVE in Hanoi, Vietnam.  “What are the obstacles that some Southeast Asian countries face on the way to net zero by 2050?  And what are the deputy secretary’s recommendations and key points for Southeast Asian countries to achieve the net-zero target?”  

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Well, thanks very much for the question.  And I think the biggest obstacle in terms of not only Southeast Asian countries but all our countries to get to net zero by 2050 and to have a pathway towards decarbonization that’s in line with what science is telling us we need to to avoid even worse consequences of climate change, and it’s clear that all our countries are already experiencing horrific consequences of climate change – just look at what happened in Hawaii not too long ago, but we’ve got droughts, we’ve got extended heat spells, all sorts of more violent typhoons and hurricanes, et cetera, et cetera.  And the biggest obstacle is just the scale and pace of what we need to do: transforming our economies, not just electricity but transportation, manufacturing, building, across the board to truly net zero within just a few decades, a couple decades’ period of time.  It’s already 2023, and not too far from 2024.  So you think of transforming our entire economy to net zero is a huge, huge undertaking, and we’re all part of this transition.   We all need to support each other, we all need to push each other, and we all need to of course have guiderails and incentives for the private sector to really take off and help get us there. 

So it’s just the scale and pace of what we need to do, and then there’s particular obstacles of course underneath that.   

And then to the second part of the question – recommendations for Southeast Asian countries to achieve net-zero targets.  Our approach is to work with countries to try to support their own objectives.  Governments – especially democratically elected governments – represent the people, and it is not our job to question what their duly-elected leaders want for their country.  What we’re doing is, especially for those countries who have ambitious targets, is:  Are there things that we can do to help support the cause along the way?  Whether it’s leveraging our phenomenal national lab expertise in the U.S. that’s helping us on our own transition, but there’s expertise there and sharing back and forth that’s useful, as we support the objectives to all get us to where we need to go. 

So we’ve certainly heard some phenomenal opportunities and potential for different technologies.  In the Philippines we had some really good conversations on offshore wind – 170 gigawatts of offshore wind potential has been estimated just in the Philippines itself, and there’s huge offshore wind potential in Vietnam and other countries in the region.  Geothermal, solar, including floating solar.  Working on the grids and building out transmission is a shared challenge.  We’ve got that in the U.S. and other countries do as well.   

So we’re all trying to move and help support each other along the way.   

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  The next question goes to Aditya Hadi from The Jakarta Post in Jakarta, and I see your hand is raised.  If you would like to unmute and ask, please go ahead.  Okay.  Yes, go ahead.  Go ahead, Aditya.   

QUESTION:  Right, thank you.  Yeah, I just want to raise a question because recently the (inaudible) secretary in Indonesia said that there’s no money left for the – especially for early retirement in all (inaudible) plans, and Indonesia may not hit the target if there is no money or financing available for the country.  I just want to ask how the U.S. and IPG support for the 10 billion pledge in JETP, and is there any punishment for – from you, from the U.S. for the recent proposal of JETP from Indonesia?   

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Well, thanks, Aditya, for the question.  And the JETP, which stands for Just Energy Transition Partnership for those who aren’t tracking this closely, is a really innovative way to help support countries like Indonesia, but there are a few other countries around the world as well, in a comprehensive fashion – not just from the U.S. Government side of things, but other key partners around the world as well.  And it’s really trying to join in a true partnership to think, to see what we can bring to the table to help countries like Indonesia to achieve their own objectives in line with what the science tells us we all need to do. 

I think it’s important to underscore that this is a partnership and there’s a lot of discussion back and forth.  It’s also a long-term partnership.  So there are opportunities and needs in the near term, but this is also trying to think through comprehensively in terms of a comprehensive investment and policy plan and having that back and forth to make sure that we’re doing what’s necessary.   

I think important to really underscore the “Just” part of Just Energy Transition Partnership:  This is meant to be a way to support Indonesia and the other countries who are working in the JETP partnership to not only decarbonize, but to do it in a way that has a just transition taking care of communities, taking care of affordability, taking care of energy security, and doing it in a real-world kind of way.   

So it’s a very ambitious partnership.  There will be challenges along the way, as there are in any kind of ambitious partnership, and that’s what’s being worked through right now.   

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And we’ll go to a question from Maki Iwasaki from the Jiji Press news agency in Tokyo, Japan.  “How do you see the role of Japan and other Asian countries in driving the growth of the hydrogen energy industry in the United States?”   

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Yeah, well, thanks for the question.  And I don’t think there’s an international meeting that I’ve gone to recently in which the subject of hydrogen and clean hydrogen in particular didn’t come up.  And there’s an awful lot of work being done in a variety of countries around the world.  Certainly want to give a shout-out to Japan, who has been a leader in hydrogen for many, many years.  And we’re certainly trying to do our part to help move along a clean hydrogen economy, not only for the benefit of the U.S. but the benefit of countries around the world to take advantage of this very versatile fuel carrier.  

In the U.S. we have a very robust set of incentives to try to move our clean hydrogen economy along.  One of our most generous tax incentives through the Inflation Reduction Act – up to $3 per kilogram for hydrogen production, a production tax credit – is in place and we’re putting together the final rules of that particular tax credit, helping to support Treasury, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, IRS.   

We also have – in the Department of Energy, the department I work for, helps coordinate this directly – is $8 billion, U.S. dollars, in hydrogen hubs to take advantage of existing hydrogen but not clean hydrogen, and industrial clusters to try to build out the hydrogen economy in a very cost-effective kind of way.   

So I think there’s a role for the U.S. and U.S. Government and U.S. companies to help support Japanese and other goals on hydrogen, certainly within the ASEAN countries but the region as a whole, and vice versa as well.  And we need to have some standards; we need to have some interoperability.  There’s a great interest in international trade in clean hydrogen, and we have many partnerships to try to move that along as well.  So I think there’s a role in all of us trying to help move this along, of course with key private sector leaders really stepping up to the plate.  But this is a moment for hydrogen, but it’s beyond a moment – it’s really a shared momentum going forward, especially for hydrogen being able to help us decarbonize harder-to-decarbonize so-called sectors, like industry, a variety of industries, heavy-duty freight, et cetera.  Hydrogen holds some real potential in those areas in particular. 

MODERATOR:  Okay, the next question was submitted by Rong Wei Neo from S&P Global Commodity Insights in Singapore.  “With the recent affirmation for nuclear power between the U.S. and the Philippines, would promoting nuclear as a viable renewable energy source in Southeast Asia be in the cards during your visit?” 

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Yeah, thanks for the question.  And we in the U.S. and other countries around the world have had extensive experience with nuclear power for quite a few years.  Twenty percent of our own U.S. electricity production is from nuclear right now, and it ends up being a very significant part of our overall generation of decarbonized electricity in our country.  What we’re finding is, not only in the Philippines but other countries in the region and countries around the world, is because these climate objectives that we all have put on the table – net zero by mid-century – are so ambitious, there’s a real need to explore a variety of different technologies, and not only the traditional nuclear people think about – the big, huge nuclear power plants – but there’s a real interest, including in the Philippines, for what’s called small modular reactors.   

So these are smaller, safer reactors.  There’s a number of really interesting models, companies in the U.S. and elsewhere who are putting together some different technologies.  And there’s an awful lot of interest in it, including because this is base power, baseload power that can help complement increasing number of renewables, whether solar or wind, as part of an overall decarbonized electricity generation mix.  So I think the interest is only going to grow and there’s some real opportunities for governments, societies to take advantage.  We are very much, as I said before, in the mode of true partner in helping to support countries.  And some countries are interested in exploring nuclear, including small modular reactors, going forward, and other countries are not interested.  For those countries who are, we’re certainly sharing our expertise and having some good conversations and seeing what we can do to support their ambitions. 

MODERATOR:  Okay, the next question comes from Nhu Nguyen, OEC, from Da Nang, Vietnam.  “Recently Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast has joined NASDAQ.  What is your comment on the prospect of more Vietnamese companies like VinFast who will invest in the green economy in the U.S.?”   

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Well, thanks for the question, and there’s no doubt that there’s a huge market opportunity and business opportunity for a variety of companies than what’s going on in the U.S. with the various tax incentives and all that we’re doing to really accelerate our clean energy transition.   

The point I’d like to underscore is we think this a win-win situation for companies, including whether Vietnamese companies or other companies from the region.  They can help shore up their own bottom line – they can make money – as part of our clean energy transition in the U.S.  But that makes them stronger companies, more financially sound companies, reduces their prices that they need to charge for their products because they’re able to do things at scale in the U.S. that will help them make money and help the decarbonization process in Vietnam and other countries in the region as well.  So we really view this as a win-win situation, public and private partnerships in countries around the world, and certainly between the U.S. and ASEAN countries.   

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Deputy Secretary, we’re going to go back to a question also submitted by S&P Global Commodity Insights in Singapore.  And you kind of touched upon this a little bit, but it’s a slightly different question:  “How do you think your visit to Indonesia may put pressure on them for the Just Energy Transition Partnership, seeing how the monetary injection has failed to shift the needle thus far?” 

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Yeah, as I was mentioning earlier, the partnership – the JETP partnership with Indonesia, and we’ve got a few others around the region and around the world as well – really is a partnership.  And I think there’s a recognition that it’s very much a mutually beneficial partnership.  And we’re able to have very candid conversations back and forth and make sure that we’re all doing our parts in order for – in the Indonesia JETP context – for Indonesia to be successful, to the benefit first and foremost of the people in Indonesia, but for Indonesia to also be a responsible global player as well.   

So I think it’s less pressure from my vantage point and more just having candid, real-world true partner conversations to all do our part in a partnership to Indonesia achieve the objective that it’s laid out.  So that’s the spirit, and I think that’s the modality of the conversations.  And I had a very constructive conversation with the minister of energy, Minister Tasrif, here in Indonesia just a few hours ago, including on JETP – all in that kind of spirit of true partnership.   

MODERATOR:  Okay.  And now, Deputy Secretary Turk, that’s it for the questions and answers.  If you have any closing remarks, I’ll turn it back over to you.  

DEPUTY SECRETARY TURK:  Well, thanks, again, Natalie, for moderating, and thanks to everyone who’s joined and had such terrific questions.  And we look forward to engaging with you all further.  As I mentioned at the outset, working hand-in-hand with countries in this region – ASEAN countries but other countries in this region – is a top, top priority from our end.  I hope you’ve heard that clearly from the President, the Vice President, others in the administration as well.   

And so any number of us will be back in the region, available to talk further, and again trying to work in this true partnership mode to support the governments but support the people in the region to get the benefits from the clean energy transition and to all move along as quickly, as robustly as we need to from a climate perspective but also very much with an eye towards affordability and an eye towards resilience and reliability and making sure that we all have the energy sources, the energy supply chains that we need to be successful going forward.  So the U.S. – all of us in the U.S., not just the U.S. Department of Energy, all of us in the U.S. look forward to continuing to engage with you all, answering your questions but also working with public and private partners in the region for the long haul.  Thanks, everybody.   

MODERATOR:  Okay.  And that is all we have time for today.  Thank you for your questions, participants, and thank you to Deputy Secretary Turk for joining us.  We will provide a transcript of this briefing to participating journalists and all of those who are RSVP’d as soon as it is available.  We’d also love to hear your feedback, and you can contact us at any time at  Thanks again for your participation and we hope you can join us for another briefing soon. 

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U.S. Department of State

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